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UC Browser is a web browser developed by the Singapore/China-based mobile Internet company UCWeb, which is in turn owned by the Alibaba Group.

UC Browser
UC Browser Logo.png
Developer(s)UCWeb
Stable release(s) [±]
Microsoft Windows

7.0.185.1002 (January 8, 2018; 20 months ago (2018-01-08)[1])

iOS

11.3.2.1094 (August 19, 2018; 13 months ago (2018-08-19)[2])

Android

12.13.0.1207 (September 8, 2019; 14 days ago (2019-09-08)[3])

Android mini

12.11.9.1201 (September 7, 2019; 15 days ago (2019-09-07)[4])

Java

9.5.0.449 (June 23, 2014; 5 years ago (2014-06-23)[5])

UCBrowser UWP
1.0.468.0 (March 24, 2017; 2 years ago (2017-03-24)[6]) [±]
EngineU4 engine 2.0 (based on WebKit)
Operating systemiOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows RT, S60, J2ME, Windows CE, Microsoft Windows, MTK, Tizen, Bada, BREW
Standard(s)HTML5, CSS3
Available inChinese, English, Urdu, Bangla, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Russian, Vietnamese, Indonesian, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Bhojpuri
TypeMobile browser
LicenseFreeware
Websitewww.ucweb.com

It is more popular than Google’s Chrome in some of Asia’s fastest-growing markets like India and Indonesia. [7]

Originally launched in April 2004 as a J2ME-only application, it is available on a number of platforms including Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Java ME, Symbian, Windows Phone and Microsoft Windows.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

FeaturesEdit

The browser uses cloud acceleration and data compression technology. UC Browser's servers act as a proxy which compresses and renders the data of web pages before sending it to users. This process helps to load web content faster. The browser can adapt to some network environments and support multi-file format downloading. In addition, UC Browser has HTML5 web app and cloud syncing features. It also has a feature called "fast download", which downloads a file in multiple parts simultaneously.

UC Browser[14] is available on several smartphones and feature phone platforms, but the Android mobile operating system represents the largest user base for the company, with 300 million of its 500 million users total.[15]

UC+: HTML5, WebApp and add-onsEdit

In July 2013, UCWeb announced the UC+ Open Platform. The platform consists of a WebApp store, an add-on platform and an Application Bookmark Platform. It went live with the launch of UC Browser v9.2 for Android.[16]

Developers can use a provided SDK to create programs that the browser runs in different scenarios. Users can download and install them from the browser's add-on panel. Examples include sharing to social media, webpage translation, augmented reality, and voice control.[9] The Application Bookmark Platform allows partner websites to put up a QR code on UC Browser for users to scan, which adds the webpage to their bookmarks. This platform was among the first in China.[10]

Download managementEdit

The browser supports simultaneous downloads and includes a download manager, including pages for offline reading. It supports pausing and resuming downloads.[17] The current version of download manager has features designed to solve common problems while downloading, such as an intermittent internet connection and mislabeled files.[18] The download process can continue after the app is closed, and can also automatically resume if the download is interrupted.[19] The download manager sorts downloaded files by type and places them in respective folders.[20]

Data compressionEdit

Since 2006, UC Browser has been performing more compression and rendering works on its servers, which is similar to the operation of a thin client.[21] UC Browser is the only modern browser lacking support for WOFF2 and Brotli compression.[22][23]

Cloud systemEdit

UCWeb claims that the cloud system used by the browser tends to fetch data from the closest servers available, making the loading process quicker and smoother for users.[24]

Privacy and securityEdit

SecurityEdit

Research has found that UC Browser is insecure, with many vulnerabilities and privacy issues.

According to Qualys SSL Lab test and High-Tech Bridge's SSL/TLS Security Report,[25] Logjam, FREAK, and POODLE vulnerabilities are found in UC Browser.[26] UC Browser uses an outdated RC4 cipher cryptography with deprecated SSL 3 or even SSL 2 protocol which has many security flaws.[27]

In March 2019 Dr. Web researchers publicly disclosed that UC Browser and UC Browser Mini for Android was downloading and installing extra modules from the company's own servers via an unprotected HTTP channel. This exposed browser users to arbitrary remote code execution if an attacker was able to perform a man-in-the-middle attack to deliver malicious module (but no cases of exploitation were publicly disclosed). Furthermore, this violates Google Play policies that forbid Google Play apps from downloading any executable code from any sources outside of Google Play. Researchers contacted both UCWeb Inc. and Google prior to the disclosure, but as of March 26, neither app was patched and users are still vulnerable to the attack.[28]

PrivacyEdit

In 2015 it was revealed as part of the Snowden leaks that UC Browser leaks sensitive IMSI, IMEI, MSISDN data, Android ID, MAC address and users Geo-location & Wi-Fi related data without any encryption; which was used by intelligence agencies to track users.[29][30] In May 2015, Citizen Lab[31] published news about leaking of privacy details of several UC Browser users. The organization tested two versions of UC Browser, one in English and the other in Chinese.[32][33][34][35][36] In May 2015, documents leaked by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed that the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) had identified UC Browsers as a security weak point. Its widespread use in China, India and Indonesia made it particularly attractive to ASD. The documents revealed that in cooperation with its Five Eyes partners, ASD hacked the UC Browser and infected smartphones with spyware. The ASD declined to comment in relation to the revelations.[37]

In 2016, the Citizen Lab reported[32] about major security and privacy issues in the English language and Chinese language editions of the Android version of UC Browser. The report criticized the transmission of personally identifiable information to various commercial analytics tools and the transmission of user search queries without encryption. They also managed to bypass the encryption of UC Browser accusing them of using non-effective encryption systems in transmitting personally identifiable subscriber data, mobile device identifiers and user geo-location data.[38]

In May–June 2016, Alibaba group provided the Citizen Lab with updated versions of UC Browser in order to verify their security fixes to these issues. The subsequent update published by the Citizen Lab indicated that, not all of the previously identified data leaks and privacy breaches had been fixed in UC Browser.[39][29]

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) in India is currently investigating this privacy breach by Alibaba-owned UC Browser. It has been alleged that the second-most-used browser in India has been sending user data to Chinese servers and that it retains control over a user's device DNS even after the browser is deleted.[40]

The matter, first highlighted through findings of University of Toronto, is now being looked into by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Hyderabad. It is doing a technical investigation into the allegations made in the University of Toronto report which had claimed "several major privacy and security vulnerabilities that would seriously expose users of UC Browser to surveillance and other privacy violations".[41]

PlatformsEdit

UC Browser is compatible with Android, iOS and has old versions for a number of number of operating systems, including Windows (just over a year old, as of 2019), BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows and Windows Phone.[42]

Localization strategyEdit

The company announced its "Going Glocal" strategy in 2012. By providing different versions for English, Russian, Indonesian, Vietnamese markets and more, the company hopes to better serve its growing international user base.[43] The company is taking advantage of its own server networks which enable the browser to deliver customized contents to users all around the world. Besides the technical issues, the company refers to local designers and experts to accommodate local cultures and tastes, according to CEO Yongfu Yu.[44] The logo of UC Browser was redesigned in December 2012, from a cartoon squirrel to a more abstract and stylized icon that's more in line with American designs.[45]

UCWeb Inc., an Alibaba Mobile Business Group Company today launched a New UC Browser and announced its strategic partnership with Colors TV. Driven by big-data technology, the New UC Browser includes news feeds from UC News making it an integral part of UC Browser now, with more customisation options for the users. UC Browser has been updated keeping in mind the user preferences for trending and relevant information at the fingertip.

Ecosystem partnershipEdit

UCWeb customized its browser for Vodafone's Indian customers in May 2013.[46]

In May 2013, UCWeb announced a partnership with Trend Micro. Under the agreement, both companies will work to provide mobile web safety assessments in the browser.[47]

In August 2013, UC Browser provided distribution channels of companies like AppURL Initiative.[48]

In August 2013, with exclusive distributors, Gameloft licensed UCWeb to sell its products.[49]

In August 2016, As pioneers in the mobile Internet revolution of India, UCWeb aims to be at the centre of this emerging trend and has collaborated with Colors TV – India's leading Entertainment TV Channel. The vision is to offer Digitized Entertainment and utilise strengths of volume and power of the browser in content aggregation and to provide quality content to as many users as possible.

ReceptionEdit

Market adoptionEdit

UC Browser claimed to have reached 500 million users in March 2014,[15] a rise attributed to its large user base in China, India and Indonesia.

In October 2012, UC Browser topped Opera in Google Play's free Android app download category in India for the first time.[50] According to a third-party web analytics firm, StatCounter, UC Browser surpassed Opera as India's top mobile browser with 32.82 percent of the market share to Opera's 26.91 percent.[51]

Google Zeitgeist 2013 showed that the "Most Searched Mobile Apps" in India were dominated by messaging and browsing apps, with WhatsApp and UC Browser topping the rankings for the most searches on mobile in 2013.[52]

UC Browser had more than 100 million monthly active users in 2016.[53]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Windows Desktop". Softpedia. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Apple on the App Store". iTunes Store. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  3. ^ "UC Browser – Short Video Status & Video Downloader". Google Play Store. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  4. ^ "UC Browser Mini - Video Downloader & Video Status". Google Play Store. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  5. ^ "java browser". browse like a smartphone. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  6. ^ "UCBrowser UWP". Microsoft. 19 February 2019. Retrieved 21 February 2019.
  7. ^ ""A Browser You've Never Heard of Is Dethroning Google in Asia"". "Wall Street Journal".
  8. ^ UCWeb Inc. "UC Browser â€" Surf it Fast â€" Android Apps on Google Play". Google.
  9. ^ a b "iTunes Store". "apple.com".
  10. ^ a b "UC BrowserHD â€" Windows Apps on Microsoft Store". "windowsphone.com". Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  11. ^ UCWeb:. "UC Browser (Symbian S60V5)". CNET.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  12. ^ "UC Browser English â€" BlackBerry World". blackberry.com. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  13. ^ "UC Browser Enters App Store". uc.cn.
  14. ^ "UC Mobile Ltd". Ucweb.com. Retrieved 10 November 2018.
  15. ^ a b Jon Russell (21 March 2014). "Chinese Browser-Maker UCWeb Cross 500 Million Users". The Next Web.
  16. ^ Xiang, Tracey. "UC Web Launches UC+ Open Platform, Addressing WebApp Strategy". TechNode. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  17. ^ Yin, Sara. "UC Browser 8.0.5 (for Android) Review & Rating". PC Magazine. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  18. ^ "UC Browser Releases Version 9.3 For Android Platform". Efytimes.com. 24 September 2013. Archived from the original on 12 November 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  19. ^ "UC Browser on Windows Phone now supports background downloads". Fonearena.com. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  20. ^ "Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Edge? Impressive Web Browser Alternatives". Smashing Magazine. 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  21. ^ "UC Browser Review â€" Fast and Bandwidth Efficient". News.softpedia.com. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Can I use Brotli?". caniuse.com. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  23. ^ "Can I use WOFF2?". caniuse.com. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2018.
  24. ^ "UC Web launches updated version of UC Browser for Android, Java and iPad | NDTV Gadgets". Gadgets.ndtv.com. 24 April 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  25. ^ "SSL/TLS Server Test of www.ucweb.com". Retrieved 27 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Qualys SSL Labs - Projects / SSL Client Test". www.ssllabs.com.
  27. ^ "Opera Mini takes care of your security - Opera Mobile". 17 March 2016.
  28. ^ "UC Browser for Android, Desktop Exposes 500+ Million Users to MiTM Attacks". BleepingComputer. Retrieved 27 March 2019.
  29. ^ a b Research group says UC Browser, owned by Alibaba, found to leak data – Reuters, 21 May 2015
  30. ^ Spy agencies target mobile phones, app stores to implant spyware – Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, 22 May 2015
  31. ^ "The Citizen Lab â€" University of Toronto". citizenlab.org. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  32. ^ a b "Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser". citizenlab.org. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2016. by Experts: Jakub Dalek (lead), Katie Kleemola (lead), Adam Senft (lead), Christopher Parsons, Andrew Hilts, Sarah McKune, Jason Q. Ng, Masashi Crete-Nishihata, John Scott-Railton, Ronald Deibert Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  33. ^ "A Tough Nut to Crack: A Further Look at Privacy and Security Issues in UC Browser â€" The Citizen Lab". citizenlab.org. 7 August 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  34. ^ "WUP! There It Is: Privacy and Security Issues in QQ Browser â€" The Citizen Lab". citizenlab.org. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  35. ^ "Summary: Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser". citizenlab.org. 21 May 2015. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  36. ^ "Edward Snowden Archives â€" The Citizen Lab". citizenlab.org. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  37. ^ Dorling, Philip (22 May 2015). "Australia a leader in hacking mobile phones, Snowden document reveals". The Canberra Times.
  38. ^ "Privacy and Security Issues with UC Browser".
  39. ^ "Update: Analysis of updated Android and Windows versions of UC Browser".
  40. ^ "UC Browser under government lens for leaking user data to servers in China - Digit.in".
  41. ^ "Alibaba's UC Web Browser may face ban in India over data theft - Times of India".
  42. ^ "UCBrowser surpasses Opera Mini with 33 percent more downloads". Cellphonebeat.com. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  43. ^ "About UCWeb". ucweb.com. Retrieved 7 November 2016. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  44. ^ "UCWeb's Yu Yongfu Talks Strategy, Finances, New Evernote Partnership". Techinasia.com. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  45. ^ Mott, Nathaniel (18 October 2012). "UCWeb opens US office, Americanizes its logo". PandoDaily. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  46. ^ "UCWeb customises mobile internet browser for Vodafone customers in India". timesofindia-economictimes.
  47. ^ "UC Web announces partnership with Trend Micro for in-browser mobile web safety assessment". Fonearena.com. 7 May 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  48. ^ "Global Consortium of Mobile Thought Leaders Support AppURL Initiative â€" Yahoo Finance Canada". Yahoo! Finance. 2 August 2013. Archived from the original on 9 December 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  49. ^ "Gameloft China: partners important for navigating China". Techinasia.com. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  50. ^ "UCWeb Boasts Dominance over Opera in Indiaâ€â"¢s Mobile Browser Market". Techinasia.com. 30 October 2012. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  51. ^ "UCWeb overtakes Opera as India's top mobile browser, adds Jack Ma to board (INFOGRAPHIC)". Techinasia.com. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  52. ^ "Google Zeitgeist 2013: WhatsApp Top Searched Mobile App, Chennai Express, Temple Run, Sunny Leone". MediaNama. 18 December 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  53. ^ "UC Browser crosses 100 Million Monthly Active Users in India". deccanchronicle.com/. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 23 January 2018.